The Project for an Archive of the Future Anterior

Interview with Catherine Sullivan

Friday, December 9th, 6:30 – 8:30pm

CUE Art Foundation
511 West 25th Street
New York, New York 10001

The evening will begin with a presentation by Chicago based artist Catherine Sullivan, of excerpts from her video works (with a focus on The Last Days of British Honduras, her 2010 collaboration with Farhad Shamini) and documentation of her performances. Following her presentation she will be interviewed by Thom Donovan and Sreshta Rit Premnath of the Project for an Archive of the Future Anterior.

About Catherine Sullivan:

Catherine Sullivan’s works engage a variety of media – theater, film, video, photography, writing and sculpture. She has produced several performances and theater works wherein the performers are often coping with written texts, stylistic economies, reenactments of historic performances, gestural and choreographic regimes, and conceptual orthodoxies. The works address a broad spectrum of historical reference and often involve multiple collaborators including composer Sean Griffin. Her work is often staged and shot on sets for unrelated productions and in settings that project social function beyond the mise en scène Sullivan builds within them. What emerges from the numerous layers of collaboration and reference is an anxious and unresolved political and social sensibility.

Sullivan received a CalArts Alpert Award in the Arts (2004) and a Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) Fellowship (2004–05). She has had major exhibitions at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2007); Tate Modern, London (2005); Vienna Secession, Austria (2005); Kunsthalle Zurich (2005); Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford (2003); UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2002); and the Renaissance Society, University of Chicago (2002). She has participated in the Prague Biennial (2005), the Whitney Biennial (2004), and the Biennale d’Art Contemporain de Lyon (2003).

About The Project for an Archive of the Future Anterior:

The tense of the future anterior (French: Future auxiliary verb + past participle) is one of potentiality. Within any given present, it images "what will have been" before an event actually comes to pass. To return to the moments of bifurcation is an objective of the Archive of the Future Anterior. An archive which wishes to serve less as a time-capsule than a provisional index of loss or misplaced futures; where future has not yet become past and multiple futures remain compossible within a single present.

Initiated by Thom Donovan and Sreshta Rit Premnath this project is a video archive of interviews in which artists, writers, scientists and colleagues from various disciplines discuss their work in relation to this future conditional tense. The interviews will present futures which never came to pass, but may still hold the potential to be realized in the present. We hope that by producing an archive of futures which have yet to come to pass we may be able to alter the course of the future, as well as change the way we narrate and remember the past. Putting artists, writers, historians, scientists and other culture workers in dialogue with each other will be a crucial aspect of this project, inasmuch as we believe that in our present epoch fields of knowledge should communicate and synthesize to both recall and imagine a future we would want to create.

Through our collaboration, we also wish to destabilize the simple dichotomies of personal and social, interior and exterior, memory and history by triggering the future anterior tense wherein the stimulation of memory produces action, and imagination produces possible worlds of experience. Participants will likewise be encouraged to draw upon their somatic experiences as catalysts for potential futures. To what extent can our bodily memory (muscle memory, genetic code, anamnesis) germinate possible futures?

Thom Donovan lives in New York City where he edits Wild Horses of Fire blog and coedits ON Contemporary Practice. He is a participant in the Nonsite Collective and a curator for the SEGUE reading series. His criticism and poetry have been published widely in BOMB, PAJ: performance + art, Modern Painters, and at the Poetry Foundation where he currently blogs. He holds a Ph.D. in English literature from SUNY-Buffalo and is an adjunct professor at Bard College and School of Visual Arts.

Sreshta Rit Premnath
is an artist, curator and founder and editor of the magazine Shifter. He is based in New York City. He received his MFA from The Milton Avery Graduate School of Fine Art at Bard College and was a 2008 studio fellow at The Whitney Independent Study Program.